Bill Gates founder of Microsoft on Wednesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swacchh Bharat campaign in a blog titled ‘India Is Winning Its War on Human Waste’. Calling PM Modi’s statements on public health some of the ‘boldest’ he’s heard from any elected representative, Gates lauded him for backing it up by launching the Clean India campaign two months later. The campaign aims to end open defecation by October 2, 2019 — the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi — and install 75 million toilets across the country.
On his recent visit to India, Gates produced a 4-minute virtual reality video on the campaign. “There is a lot of progress in India,” he said, while explaining why he visits the country once a year. In the video, Gates highlights some alternate ways of recycling waste, to help India achieve its ‘ambitious’ target. The Gates Foundation in India is working with the government to achieve its goals to improve sanitation.
PM Modi, during his Independence Day speech in 2014, had said, “We are living in the 21st century. Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?… The poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends, they can`t go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act might engender. Can`t we make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?”
“I can’t think of another time when a national leader has broached such a sensitive topic so frankly and so publicly,” Gates wrote. “It is a great example for other countries and an inspiration for all of us who believe everyone deserves a chance at a healthy, productive life,” he added.
“What I love most about Clean India is that it identified a big problem, got everyone working on it, and is using measurement to show where things need to be done differently,” Gates said.
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